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Director: Dave Fleischer
Release Date: September 2, 1932
Stars: Betty Boop, Bimbo, Koko the Clown
‘Betty Boop, M.D.’ opens with Betty driving a tilt car into a town to sell a potion called Jippo, which is advertised as”flattens feet, makes young men old, removes teeth – grows tonsils, and stops breathing”.
Betty gets assistance from Koko and Bimbo to sell the product. First Koko performs some surreal acrobatic stunts, to no avail. Then Betty herself appears to sing a song, and the selling starts. The potion as some wondrous effects on the audience, e.g. a very thin man grows fat in an instant, and an old man turns into a large baby, while a baby turns into a tiny old man.
When Bimbo drinks Jippo himself, he starts the song ‘Nobody’s Sweetheart’, which contains a lot of scatting by members of the audience. To this jazzy sequence the imagery simply explodes with mind-blowing, surreal scenes. This fantastic string of events ends when a baby drinks Jippo, turning into a faithful caricature of Fredric March as Mr. Hyde from the 1931 horror film ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’.
As is often the case with the Fleischer films from the early 1930s, ‘Betty Boop, M.D.’ has a very weak and rather improvised story line, but this drawback is luckily compensated by original imagery, peppy music, and simply a lot of fun.
Watch ‘Betty Boop, M.D.’ yourself and tell me what you think:
‘Betty Boop, M.D.’ is available on the French DVD Box Set ‘Betty Boop Coffret Collector’
Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: June 14, 1947
Stars: Tom & Jerry
In ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse’ Jerry has attained a Droopy-like ability to be everywhere, giving Tom a hard time. In order to defeat the omnipresent mouse, Tom mixes a poisonous drink. Unfortunately, it renders the mouse muscular and extremely strong.
Later, Jerry tries to mix the same drink to get strong again, but it’s Tom who drinks it. However, it makes him smaller and in the final shot watch see Jerry chasing a tiny Tom.
‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse’ covers similar grounds as the Mickey Mouse cartoon ‘The Worm Turns‘ (1937), but with better results. The highlight of the cartoon is the animation of the effects of Tom’s potion on Jerry. Especially the animation of a threatening, marching muscular Jerry is grandiose, and in this scene Scott Bradley’s outstanding music is particularly powerful.
Watch ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse’ yourself and tell me what you think:
Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: March 24, 1964
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Jerry uses his new speed to eat everything that Tom wants to eat. When he runs out of speed he drinks a potion, which makes him enormous, thus abruptly ending the film.
Like the Hanna-Barbera Tom & Jerry cartoon ‘The Invisible Mouse‘ (1947), ‘Is There a Doctor in the Mouse?’ suffers from an all too powerful Jerry. When Tom is bullied, it’s not comical, it’s sad. The result is one of the weaker entries in Jones’ Tom & Jerry series.
‘Is There A Doctor in the Mouse’ has the questionable honor to be the first Chuck Jones Tom & Jerry cartoon with a pun in the title. Titles like these would dominate the Chuck Jones Tom & Jerries. They were not their best feature. Apart from being rather trite, they more often than not had nothing to do with the content, at all.
Watch ‘Is There a Doctor in the Mouse?’ yourself and tell me what you think:
Director: Ben Sharpsteen
Release Date: January 2, 1937
Stars: Mickey Mouse, Pete, Pluto
He tries it on a fly caught in a spiderweb, on a mouse (the two different designs of mice in this film, with one being twenty times larger, is quite confusing!) who is the victim of a cat, on the cat, who’s chased by Pluto, and on Pluto, who’s threatened by evil dog catcher Pete.
The animation of the opening sequence is quite stunning, but the whole short fails to get funny. Hanna and Barbera would revisit the same idea in the similar ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse‘ (1947) with much better results.
Watch ‘The Worm Turns’ yourself and tell me what you think: